Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Solstice 12.21.09

This morning the Fall fairy moved out of the fairy house and the Winter fairy arrived and made herself comfortable. Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice! Our artistic activity today was to make a Santa face. I read the children the story "The Night Before Christmas" because there is a great description of Santa in it. "His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow. And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow."  Bella & Ian cut out two triangles, one for Santa's hat and one for his beard then they traced a cup to make the circle for the top of Santa's hat. They used a paper plate for his face and colored what they thought he would look like from the description in the book. We had a great conversation about what twinkling eyes look liked;) The children then glued cotton balls onto the bottom triangle for the beard that was as white as snow. They did a great job and were very proud posing with their Santas. We then moved onto Bread Making! Yule is the celebration of the return of the rising sun so today we baked Sun Bread to celebrate the beautiful light the sun gives us. Both Bella & Ian loved the kneading part of the bread process and both of them commented on the funny smell of the yeast and how the dough stopped sticking to their fingers when we added more flour. The way the dough rose was also a big moment of the day. Ian shouted "it's growing!" Bella wanted to know how big it was going to get. We headed outdoors to go for our nature walk. We did a slow walk through the forest.....little legs & deep snow are a tough combination. Everett dislikes the snow very much, I even tried giving him a sleigh ride but nothing seemed to make him happy:( My guess is he's more of a summer kind of kid (like his mama). A happy closing thought......the daylight stays with us a little longer each day starting today:) Enjoy the light!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Yellow Wagon

Harrison arrived today in good spirits. Still had a runny nose but so do all of mine so I'm getting pretty good at the surprise nose wipe. In fact today we used 1/2 a box of tissue at The Nest:) As you can see from the picture we finally put up our Christmas tree! We are trying a new spot in the living room this year, the corner, hoping that the couch will stop it from falling on anyone when Everett inevitably pulls it down. We also decided to not put up the decorations that we normally do, again Everett is the reason for this. He proved today why that decision was the right one..........he pulled off 3 of the 4 cranberry chains that I painstakingly created . Oh and smooshed them as well so he was covered in cranberry juice. I would have taken a picture for you but I was trying to save the couch from an unremovable cranberry stain;) After snack I loaded everyone into our yellow wagon and took them for a wagonride through our neighborhood. Yes, I played the part of the horse. Eeva was a great help and held Harrison for me. Someday(a long long time from now) she will make a wonderful mother, she is so gentle and understanding with Harrison. His little face lights up when he sees her get off the bus. Really special:) I never realized how heavy 4 little kids could be, we only went about a 1/2 mile up and then turned around. On our return trip we ran into some trouble.......we had a roll over! Not really a roll over, more like we tipped on our side. There was a car approaching and it was going a little too fast for my liking and not moving over far enough either so I made a B-line for the side of the road and our little yellow wagon flipped onto it's side. Thank goodness no one was hurt but there was a lot of crying. Again Eeva saved the day and held onto Harrison as tightly as she could. So I dusted them off, gave them each a kiss and we headed home! It will be awhile before this horse takes her wagon out onto the road again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baking Bread

This week Bella, Ian & I made Corn Bread together. Last week we made Banana Bread. I love to bake and I want the children to experience baking as well. I hope to graduate to baking bread that needs to rise and be kneaded. I have a wondeful book called Baking Bread with Children by Warren Lee Cohen. I often flip through it and long to create all the wonderful breads. But then reality sets in.....bread making, real bread making is messy and time consuming. In the introduction of the book the author says " Creating something to eat from such basic ingrediants(yeast, flour,water & salt) is real life magic." he also adds " It is an unforgettable experience to bake a beautiful loaf. It touches all our senses as well as feelings of accomplishment, wonder and joy. Baking bread is meaningful work that teaches a diverse set of skills and offers bountiful rewards." All wonderful reasons to roll up our sleeves and get baking bread with our children. I will keep you posted on our bread making adventures.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Thankful Tree 2009

During the month of November in the middle of my dining room table stood a branch in a vase. Next to the vase was a small bowl filled with paper leaves. Each morning the children and I would take a leaf and write something we were thankful for. Then we would hang the leaf upon the branch. Day by day our little branch became our "Tree of Thanks". Some leaves were funny, some were very sweet, some were so typical of a 3 year old, some show the maturity of my young children, but all of them were true & from the heart.

I'm thankful for............

"cupcakes"  ~ Matthew
"the sun" ~ Eeva-Liisa
"Ms. Angela" ~ Bella
"when Nanook turns on Noggin for me" ~ Ian
"new friends at school" ~ Eeva-Liisa
"nature" ~ Eeva-Liisa
"the plants that grew in our garden" ~ Ian
"Echo" (our new dog) ~ Eeva-Liisa
"Mommy & Daddy" ~ Ian
"Diapers" ~ Mommy
"diggers" ~ Ian
"nice books" ~ Eeva-Liisa
"the poetry fairy" ~ Ian
" the toys in the playroom" ~ Matthew
"apples" ~ Bella
"that Pepere blew all the leaves into big piles" ~ Ian (mommy agrees)

Our Thanksgiving Tradition

Four Thanksgivings ago our family started a new tradition, after a yummy breakfast prepared by Nanook we head into the forest for a nature walk. During our walk we collect pieces of nature to decorate a grapevine wreath. We then assemble the wreath together as a family &  proudly display it on our front door for the holiday season. Along the way the children knock on trees with openings to see if any fairies are home & they love to cross the small brook (no one got wet this year). It also gives us a chance to chat, identify trees, talk about my own childhood that I spent playing in the very same forest that we are walking in. I so enjoy our gentle walk in the morning because the rest of our day is so busy and I often lose site of what this holiday is suppose to bring. But as I'm locking the front door every morning I glance up at the wreath and remember exactly what I'm thankful for:)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

"is Ms. Amy coming today?" "Ms. Angela is Ms. Amy coming today?" "Ms. Angela is today music" " Mommy is Ms. Amy coming to play today"  Thank goodness that Ms. Amy comes to play at 9:30am because I don't think the kids could have waited another minute (and I just didn't have it in me to answer another Ms. Amy question). Today during music I truly enjoyed myself....all of the children finally felt comfortable enough to join in and it was so special:) Every little voice was heard (even the babbles & coos) and every hand played an instrument. Each child is starting to have a favorite song & everyone loves when the box of instruments is dumped on the floor and they can choose which & how many instruments they will jam with. Music is so powerful and so important for young children. And I know I have said this many times before but it needs repeating....I'm so thankful for Ms. Amy and Music Together. After music we invited Ms. Amy & her son Eli to join us for snack. It was nice to have a full table, Bella & Ian liked showing Eli how they help set the table & do the dishes afterwards. While waiting for the bus to bring us Eeva & Matt we played in the small sandbox on the front porch. Harrison couldn't take the excitement .....he fell fast asleep in the stroller. What do you think of Everett's new hat? He is the sandbox bully! Everett's favorite thing to do is throw sand.....sometimes at friends, sometimes at the ground, sometimes in his own face! I'm just thankful he's passed the stage of eating the was a long summer at the beach with him:) Eeva & Matt arrived, I had to wake Harrison to come inside and the older ones headed to their favorite place...the playroom while I made some lunch. Everyone seems to be feeling better & all ate well. I read the children "A house for Hermit Crab" by Eric Carle before napping. Eeva reads along with me from was a huge favorite this summer. Bella doesn't make it through the whole book before she's fast asleep. I turn on the music (bedtime w/ the Beatles...I believe you are never too young to be a fan of the fab five) & within 5 minutes everyone is fast asleep. Harrison & I read one more book together and then he curls up under my chin and falls alseep. With everyone asleep I begin cleaning up the kitchen & making snack. Harrison is the first to wake and he enjoys some time in the walker. He is in love with this new found freedom that the walker brings him. He plays with the letters on the fridge, trys to pull the ropes off the wooden tree house where the gnomes live & has access to the baby toy bin. An 8mo.old couldn't ask for more:) Once again we head outside to wait for Nick to arrive. Matt & Eeva enjoy riding the cars up & down the sidewalk. Ian & Bella like to rake the leaves and then jump in their very own piles. Harrison watches from his perch (the stroller) and Everett plays with the broom. Nick arrives off the bus full of energy and ready for a snack so we head back in for some plums & yogurt then back outside. I think it's about time the world recognizes getting 7 children dressed in shoes, coats, hats & mittens is an Olympic sport:)
 We end our day outside as the sun sets behind the trees:)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The sun light fast is dwindling. My little lamp needs kindling. It's beam shines far in darkest night. Dear lantern guard me with your light.

On November 11th we celebrate a festival called Martinmas. During this festival we honor St. Martin the patron saint of soliders. Martinmas is a quiet festival that celebrates each person's individual inner light and how they share that light with the world. It honors and protects the light- not only the light in ourselves, but the fading light from the sky. This is a festival that helps us get ready for the coming season of darkness which we celebrate by bringing the light. At The Nest each child created a little lantern out of a baby food jar, tissue paper & glue. It took a lot of concentration to thread the colorful beads onto the wire but they all did very well. In a traditional Waldorf school the children would use these lanterns for a lantern walk through the forest. Our family has attend 3 Lantern Walks and I find this festival to be one of my favorites.  Dozen of tiny lanterns glimmering along a forest path guided only by the moonlight & sweet little voices singing " I walk with my little lantern, my lantern myself and I". At the end of the walk we gather around a camp fire and enjoy  warm cidar, homemade bread and soup. I hope in the coming years to have enough families at The Nest to do my own Lantern Walk:)

Peace ~ Angela

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Playgroups at The Nest

Something new at The Nest.........PLAYGROUPS!
I've expanded on an old idea of gathering children of similar ages together and letting them play, socialize & explore.The playgroups will take place on Mondays & Fridays and run in 6 week sessions. I have included our playgroup rhythm below and a list of the "Late Fall Session" themes. If any of you are interested or know of another family who might be please email me for more details:)

8:30 ~ meet outside and take a walk in the forest
9:00 ~ Circle Time
9:30 ~ Creative Free Play
10:00 ~ Snack
10:30 ~ Artistic Activity
11:00 ~ Outdoor Play
11:30 ~ Goodbye Friends

Week 1 ~ Fire
Week 2 ~ Wind
Week 3 ~ Spiders, Weaving
Week 4 ~ Thanksgivig & Gratitude
Week 5 ~ Hope
Week 6 ~ Love

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Fun

Last week my father (the kids call him Pepere) used his leaf blower to make 3 huge piles of leaves in the front yard. The idea was that I would be able to pick them up easier this way. Well the kids have been having such a good time playing in them I can't possibly pick them up yet:) At least that's what I keep telling Derek when he asks if I had a chance to get to the leaves yet. I will have to do it soon or else the kids will be helping me plant new grass in the front yard come Spring. Take some time to jump in the leaves today:)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Matthew's 5th Birthday

Ian & Bella making cupcakes for their fellow Nester's birthday. They both liked cracking the eggs & running the beater:)

The Birthday Boy! Matt was so surprised that we had cupcakes for his special day . Happy Birthday Matt, hope 5 is great !

Everett can't wait for the next birthday! He really needed a bath after his cupcake but had to settle for a quick wipe down.

Nick climbing "elephant foot".

Our little gymnast....Eeva can find a balance beam anywhere even in the forest:)

Ian sits and takes a break from stick gathering...he has a rather large collection forming.

Motherbird's view of the little ones during our nature walk:)